Hungary: The Country and its Languages - Part 1
Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe.
Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It’s bordered by Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. The capital of Hungary, Budapest, besides being one of most beautiful cities in the world, is bisected by the Danube River. Budapest has a rich history and is renowned for its architectural landmarks and its dramatic cityscape. Budapest has a population of almost 1.8 million people: it’s the political center of Hungary and home to its ceremonial Head of State. The culture of Budapest reflects Turkish, Roman, Magyar and Slavic influences.
As at the year 2016, Hungary had a population of approximately 11 million people. It’s a Parliamentary democracy and, since May 2004, Hungary has been a member of the European Union.
By population, the largest cities in Hungary are –
- Budapest with a population of almost 1.8 million people;
- Debrecen, population 204,000;
- Miskolc, population 172,600;
- Szeged, population 165,000; and
- Pecs, with a population of 157,000 people.
Religions and Ethnic Make-Up of Hungary
The religions of Hungary are – (approximate figures)
- 37.2% Roman Catholic;
- 11.6% Calvinist;
- 2.2% Lutheran;
- 1.8% Greek Catholic;
- with the remainder being unspecified.
The Hungarian population is comprised of – (approximate figures)
- 89.9% % Hungarian;
- 4% Roma;
- 2.6% German;
- 2% Serb;
- 0.8% Slovak; and
- 0.7% Romanian.
The Languages of Hungary
The official language of Hungary is Hungarian, also known as Magyar. Hungarian is spoken by the majority of the population and there are some prominent minority languages, such as Croatian, German, Slovak, Romani, Serbian, Romanian, and Slovene. Even though Hungary lies in Eastern Europe, when compared to its neighbors its culture and language are very different. Hungarians are originally from central Asia, and after 150 years of Turkish occupation and interaction with neighboring countries, the cultural habits and language of the Hungarians changed on their way to the Carpathian Basin.
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Magyar (The Hungarian Language)
Both the grammar and vocabulary of the Hungarian language (Magyar) are entirely different to the Indo-European languages surrounding Hungary. The language belongs to the Finno-Ugric language phylum (which includes Estonian and Finnish) and is not related to any other Central European language. Its closest relatives are Mans and Khanty, but these languages are not spoken by many people. For the most part, this language stems from Asia – and more specifically, the Uralic region. It’s important to note that the Hungarians’ vocabulary carries influences of many different Slavonic languages because they’ve lived in the Carpathian Basin for over 1000 years. This language has also been greatly influenced by German, due to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
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